Monday, October 8, 2012

Fall Colors in Big Cottonwood Canyon

Autumn comes to Mt. Olympus

When the hillsides of Mount Olympus started glowing red, it was time to head up the canyon to take in the annual show.  We went up on a cloudy, cool Sunday afternoon (Sept. 24), and the colors had not yet peaked.  My drive of choice that day was up Big Cottonwood Canyon.  Big Cottonwood is not far from Salt Lake City, and is home to both the Solitude and Brighton ski resorts.  

Fishing from a boat on Silver Lake

The canyon was very busy the day we drove up.  Cars filled the pull-outs and camera-wielding people were everywhere.  We saw photographers setting up their huge camera lenses, families dressed up to capture a great outdoor portrait, and people taking casual shots with their phones.  Several people were fishing both from the boardwalk and the water at Silver Lake.

Duck paddles back toward the open water of the lake.

We wandered past the beaver dam, and stopped to watch a duck making her way through this water channel back to the lake.  It was nice to get out and enjoy the fresh air today!

Aspen leaves

Aspen trees are one of the world's largest living organisms.  Really.  The largest stand is actually in Utah and is nicknamed "Pando."  That particular stand of aspen trees numbers over 47,000 trees, and is ONE organism.  But I love aspen trees for their quaking leaves and their fall colors.

Section of trail around Silver Lake

The deep greens of the evergreen contrasted beautifully with the warm yellows of the aspen.  We did not see many birds or critters on our walk around the lake...perhaps because there were so many people there that day.  But nature's color show was enough.

Silver Lake in autumn

This view from the other side of the lake was also beautiful.  The walk around the lake is approximately one mile.  There is little elevation change.  Sections include boardwalks which are navigable by anyone.  Other parts of the trail are improved dirt sections.

The reds of autumn.

Although the colors had not peaked at the end of September, they have peaked now.  However, if you have not ventured out to enjoy the autumn leaves, you can still see many colors and enjoy the scenery now, even if it is post-peak.  This stand of red trees was a popular backdrop for many families taking photos.

Art Family at Silver Lake

As we drove down the canyon, we stopped to take in the other tree colors in Big Cottonwood.  At Silver Lake, you will find mostly aspen and pine trees.  Lower down, other colors come into play.

View in Big Cottonwood Canyon

We took our time winding down the canyon, and stopped in a few locations to take photos.  There are ample pull-outs and parking areas along the route.  Rock climbers were out in abundance the day we went, taking advantage of the fall weather.

View driving down Big Cottonwood Canyon

It is an amazing gift of nature each year as the colors flame to life, peak, and fade heading into winter.  The sunset of the seasons.  Autumn is my favorite time of year, and this year did not disappoint!

Babo's Bird enjoys the fall colors.

Artwife at Silver Lake

This was one of my last autumn outings with hair!  It was about two weeks after my first chemotherapy, and my hair was beginning to fall out.  We shaved it the next night, but I wanted a fall photo to remember it by!  Some came out in my hand at the lake, and I set it adrift on the wind.  I kind of liked leaving a little piece of me at the lake!  It was a beautiful day, and I was blessed to enjoy it with my husband and son.

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